When I was a child, Halloween was one of my favorite holidays of the year. The anticipation I felt as October sluggishly passed me by could only be surpassed by the days leading up to Christmas. My brother and I would wear fun costumes every year, which my mother and grandmother would spend weeks making for us. We’d be Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers, Hulk and Macho Man, and once, even cheap-ass ghosts, just because we wanted to. We would go out onto our street, and several neighboring streets, with our parents right by our side the entire way, going from door to door to ask for whatever goodies those doors had waiting behind them. Then we’d go home, way past our bed times, throw out any candy that didn’t have air-tight packages, and go to bed with smiles on our faces.
It’s different nowadays. People take their kids out early in the afternoon, and get home before six. And that’s if they even Trick-or-Treat at all. Some people actually invented Trunk-or-Treating, which is by all accounts a shameful bastardization of what’s supposed to be a fun and adventurous tradition. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, a group of parents who all know and trust each other take their kids to a parking lot in the middle of the day, in costume, and have them Trick-or-Treat out of the trunks of their cars. They’ve boiled Halloween down to it’s basest elements: Candy and costumes. It’s safe, it’s contained, it’s completely sterile, and they do it out of fear. Fear of the psychotic villain lurking behind every stranger’s door. The kind that’ll inject poison or drugs into candy just to get his jollies off. And by fear, of course, I mean paranoia. Because this kind of person doesn’t exist outside of bad movies.
In the… I don’t know, maybe ten years that I consciously trick-or-treated, I was never poisoned. There were no razor blades. You know why? Because that kind of threat doesn’t actually exist. Going back historically, there have only been a handful of instances of tampered Halloween treats. There were metal shavings in Pokemon Lollipops, and that got traced back to the manufacturer in China. There was the man who put rat poison in his son’s pixie stick so he could kill him and collect the insurance money, and then poisoned the neighboring kids solely so he could cover up the crime. Unsuccessfully, of course. There was the little boy who found his uncle’s stash of heroin, ate some, and died, so the parents sprinkled heroin on his candy to try and cover up his Uncle’s guilt. There have been a few other cases, but almost none of them were proven to be legitimately random acts of evil.
By the way, the whole razor blade thing is also a myth, in addition to being flat-out impossible. I guess you could bake one into a brownie, but if you were to try and stick one into an apple or a candy bar, chances are your intended victim would notice that his treat sports a suspicious looking entrance wound. So there’s no razor blade danger from Trick-or-Treating. Bake sales, on the other hand…
So people, don’t buy into this baseless millennial paranoia. Take your kids out Trick-or-Treating next week, and let them have the fun time that you remember having as a kid. Keep them out past their bed times. Let them interact and mingle with other costumed kids that they haven’t met yet. Let them go to strangers’ houses, and of course, stay with them and keep an eye on them the entire time. An activity like this can easily be safe and structured without being isolated. And if it makes you feel better, check their candy afterwards.
Don’t let this time-honored tradition be destroyed and bastardized by paranoia.
Your children, like you before them, deserve better than that.
Also, I’m sorry this was such a short post, but it felt like something I needed to say, and I didn’t want to lose anybody’s attention. I had a review scheduled for this slot, but don’t worry, I’ve moved it to November, so you can enjoy it then.